Find out how the Salewa Alpine X performed in Lucy Wallace’s review of the best walking axes for 2021

I’ve been walking the winter hills for decades, but the Salewa Alpine X made me question whether I am, after all, a complete numpty, because I cut myself on it whilst opening the box. I then went on to stab myself with the pick whilst stumbling in some deep snow, and nearly a year later I still have the scar to prove it. Perhaps I’m not made for this lark after all?

In all seriousness, the ferocious pick is a selling point, as is the aggressive adze with a hooked blade, which cuts with ease into the hardest of ice. However, this is probably not an ice axe that I’d hand out to novices, nor would I want to practice self arrest with it!

Staying with the head, it has an innovative design to make it more comfortable in the hand. It is pleasant to carry, but I suspect it works even better if carried in the European style (Salewa is an Italian brand) with the pick facing forwards. We Brits are generally pick-backwards types as it is easier to get into the self-arrest position from here.

The shaft is straight, for no-nonsense plunging, and at the bottom is a grippy carbide tip, which is replaceable should it wear down (which carbide tips tend to do).

Injuries aside, the Salewa Alpine X is a nice lightweight axe for experienced winter walkers and mountaineers, performing particularly well on hard, refrozen snow and ice.

Read more: 6 of the best walking axes reviewed